Casa Adela feels like your grandmother's kitchen. This fuss-free, no frills restaurants offers incredible, homestyle Puerto Rican food that's simply out-of-this world.
This little restaurant on Ave C is small and cozy, the lines of server and patron are blurred, and you feel like you're part of the family gorging on huge portions of delicious dishes that are authentic as it's going to get. It's the kind of place you should come hungry because your table is going to be covered in plates.
Nothing falls short of great here, but the dish that's most rave-worthy is the Pernil. If you're new to Puerto Rican food, Pernil is sinfully delicious, moist pork shoulder roasted with garlic, black pepper, olive oil and herbs; it's so good, you'll lick your plate clean. It was virtually recommended by all the patrons, and you know a place is doing something right when people of Puerto Rican descent are saying things like, "wow, this as good as my mom's rice and beans."
If you're a poultry lover, try the rotisserie chicken; it's juicy, succulent and exploding with flavor. If you like your chicken crispy, you'll love breaded chicken. Seasoned to perfection and lightly fried, it's moist and crispy, leaving you wondering... how did they do it?
The Mofongo (a fried plantain-based dish) is superb here. Mofongo is Puerto Rican dish with West African roots. It's similar to African Fufu, made from starchy veggies and introduced to the Caribbean by Africans in Spanish island colonies.
That is just the tip of the iceberg, Casa Adela is really worth a visit (well, several visits) to realize that everything on the menu is truly spectacular. When it comes to food, this place really sets the bar high.
For coffee lovers, you must try the Cafe con Leche. It's so good that it will ruin strong, gourmet coffee forever. It's reminiscent of the bold cafes one would be served in South American countries like Brazil and Argentina.
Not to be confused with Crème Caramel, this traditional Puerto Rican dessert is made with sugar, eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla, and at Casa Adela, it's homemade not that stuff you mix together out of a box. It's really possibly the best flan you'll have (and it's just like mom makes).
The Rice Pudding (#winning)
The Rice Pudding is made fresh, on premises. The table behind us suggested that we try it. We had already ordered flan, so the women sitting behind us, actually came over and served us some of the rice pudding they had ordered to take home. Needless to say, the people that frequent this place are wonderful. We were so surprised by their generosity and their other menu suggestions, and that coupled with the quality of our food, guaranteed we'd be back for seconds.
There's a real familial vibe at Casa Adela, it's pleasantly infectious. Generally, I'm not a rice pudding fan, but this dessert has made me a convert. It was perfectly sweetened, had just the right texture and consistency, and I literally licked my spoon clean to the point it was shinier than polished silver.
It's like eating in your grandma's kitchen. People are friendly and at times there is a loss of translation, but most of the staff speaks English fluently, and they're kind and attentive.
If you want amazing Puerto Rican food in New York City, look no further. Get over the frills and fancy place settings, and enjoy a super reasonable, extremely generously portioned meal at a restaurant that feels like home no matter what cultural background you come from.